As we reach the midpoint in our first season back in Yorkshire 3, I think we have surprised a few teams as we consolidate in the top half of the table, ( in fact early in the season we actually shared top spot). It’s quite a contrast from this time last year when the team stayed pretty much injury-free up until the last month of the season, whereas within the first few weeks of this season we were inundated with injuries including influential Captain Nathan Rogers, but hopefully he and others should be back after Christmas. Sadly, former Captain Ieuan Cranswick had to give up rugby altogether after suffering his second serious injury in a year.
Most teams will use this as an excuse for poor performances and whilst there have been a couple, the young lads who have stepped in to cover these injuries have performed exceptionally well, making at times the average age of the team 21 (excluding a couple of players) which bodes really well for the future.
The step up to Yorkshire 3, whilst not individually a great leap, means the level of intensity required of the team every week is the main difference. There are no easy games and on any given day any team can beat its opposition, so the need to maintain both focus and intensity is even greater. Combine this with the fact we have 4 additional league fixtures, it’s easily understandable why a much larger squad is required.
It’s also been good to see the 2nd team begin to settle down with a more committed group of players. It’s been tough for team managers Alan Garnett and Peter Tempest at times, but their perseverance is starting to pay off, and whilst everyone wants to play 1st team rugby, the 1st team squad does need a strong committed 2nd team so as to not allow complacency to set in.
With 2015 approaching the team now needs to step up a gear, with the exception of the odd few games, we generally have not played to the high standards we have set ourselves. This can easily be rectified so the aim is to put maximum effort into training and to hit the New Year running and winning.
John Walker (Coach)